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Sheriff's department continuing to grow
Don martin uniform
Sheriff Don Martin - photo by Courier file photo
The Liberty County Sheriff’s Department takes on a heavy workload to bolster the security in the region with an array of tasks.
During the past 15 years under Sheriff J. Don Martin, the staffing of the department has nearly tripled, expanding from 52 to 150 employees, he said.
The employees and the deputies diligently work on daily assignments, including road patrols, transportation, maintaining courthouse security,  investigations and operating the county jail, Lt. D. Cleveland Pittman said.
“We have a high caliber of men and women who serve as deputies in the county,” Martin said. “Most of the deputies are ex-military, and they do their jobs well.”
Behind every facet of this department, there are duties carried out with expedience and efficiency, Pittman said.
For instance, Lt. Vernecia Mells is responsible for serving various court documents that help the justice system operate, she said.
Mells serves or prepares warrants, subpoenas, magistrate claims for superior and state courts and statement claims to individuals who fall under the judicial system, she said.
“The most rewarding part of my job is interacting with people, and affecting them in a positive way,” Mells said. “Sometimes, there are people in the county who may need our guidance, and I’m happy to offer my assistance in anyway I can.”
The deputies also have a Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, Pittman said. The 17-week DARE program is focused on fifth graders who, at that age, can become vulnerable to the lure of drugs, Pittman said.
Besides overseeing the security if the courthouse and annex, Pittman is also working with Martin and Chief Deputy Keith Moran collaborating on the security for the new $20 million justice center being built on South Main Street in the next 18 months.
Besides the usual security cameras and lighting, the center will feature X-ray machines, and an advanced video system where inmates can stay at the jail in Walthourville and be broadcast to the justice center for preliminary trials, Moran said.
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